Weathering the Storm

by Jaime Wilson

Friday’s storm was nothing short of awesome! Driving in to Land Park was quite the adventure, with traffic lights out, large debris in the road – it really became a slow moving free-for-all as folks tried to avoid branches, sometimes even driving the wrong way to get around them.

We all congregated in the entry way to the Administration office and by candlelight, started to hear what was going on. A huge oak tree fell in the lake, thankfully not injuring any animals. People had heard transformers blow early in the morning out on Sutterville Road, so we weren’t surprised our power was out. The noise spooked some of the hoof stock, but they were still doing okay.

It was pretty clear that we couldn’t open, for the safety of our staff, the animals and the visitors.
But the behind-the-scenes work went on. The keepers were prepping the animal diets by flashlight – their routine stays the same no matter the weather. They also kept some of the animals in their dens to keep them safe. Office staff was trickling in, but after a near miss with a tree branch, most people headed home and the people who stayed went outside in pairs and only when they had to.

We were lucky. Our power was restored later in the morning, so a skeleton crew of people stuck it out the rest of the day to assess the damage. Saturday dawned with every surface and walkway covered in debris and the decision was made to stay closed so it could be cleared from the public pathways.

The Zoo is open again, but the clean up continues. We are just happy to have one day off from the rain to get thing sorted out. Wow, that was a big one!
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